Lest I forget

I’ve been stitching napkins. Mostly because the linen/cotton napkins that I bought ten years ago have gotten unpleasantly stiff and non-absorbent. So I bought some linen thread and two yards of checked linen from Burnley and Trowbridge

in order to have enough to make 8 napkins (with thanks to Mo for the idea to to use red thread, and to Hazel for the cross stitches and to Dana, whose table settings are aspirational) …

They washed up and air-dried beautifully. Which is important as I’m not a fan of dryers and definitely not one for taking the time to iron napkins since we use them at every meal.

And speaking of meals, here are two that I wanted to document for future reference.

Pork Meatballs (4 servings)

  • 1 lb ground pork
  • Hoisin sauce
  • Minced ginger (bottled)
  • Garlic (just a touch)
  • Wasabi (buy at sushi counter)
  • Sesame oil
  • Panko
  • 1 egg

Combine all ingredients. Form into 24 small meatballs and place on parchment paper. Brush with a mixture of hoisin and peanut oil. Bake in an air fryer or hot convection oven for 10 minutes or so.

Serve on stir fried vegetables (mushrooms, cabbage, snow peas, carrots, celery, and scallions sauced with ginger, hoisin, sesame oil, garlic, and mirin) or Asian-style slaw (shredded cabbage, carrots and scallions dressed with peanut oil, rice wine vinegar, ginger, sesame oil, and agave).

Pork meatballs on stir fried veggies with peanuts

Bahn Mi

  • Leftover pork meatballs
  • Bolillo rolls
  • Mayo
  • Chili sauce
  • Shredded carrots
  • Mini-cucumbers cut into matchsticks
  • Lots of cilantro leaves
  • Finely sliced poblano

Heat leftover meatballs just enough to warm them. Split rolls, remove some of the bread in the middle to form a hollow, spread lightly with mayo and toast on griddle until edges are light brown (putting a plate on top to weigh them down works well). Combine chili sauce and mayo to spread on toasted rolls. Top with meatballs, carrots, cukes, poblano and cilantro. Delicious with Heineken 0.0 non-alcoholic beer (a recent and much appreciated find).

Sorry, no picture … we dug in too quickly to get a good shot. Maybe next time 😉

Each day many small things

New note: issues continue with the so-called “gallery” pictures in most, but not all, posts.

I just added a blog to the list of Kindred Spirits in the original version of I’m Going to Texas. The author is Paula Kovarik and she recently wrote about her process of patching a cloth together.

Fascinating … and so not me. I’d never have the patience to lay out all those pieces and then put them all together at the end. But also a wicked bit of synchronicity, as I had just finished writing my thoughts in hopes of finding my way to a new piece of patchplay (transcribed below to save you from having to decipher my handwriting) …

Thinking it through: what do I most like to do?

  • tear cloth into random width strips
  • seam folded edges together with whip stitch
  • embroider small patches to hold memory and meaning
  • “quilt” two layers together with Texas Two-step (aka combination stitch)
  • use up thread nest/scrap bin cuttings (aka piece/peace basket, per Sue McQ)

How it might go

  • tear white linen 20” x 40” (or whatever size I end up choosing)
  • turn edges and secure with tailor’s herringbone stitch
  • begin piecing strips of patches, leaving edges raw
  • periodically lay out the strips on linen, turn edges under to finish, leave raw edges to be covered by subsequent rows (pseudo-Kawandi)
  • “quilt” strips with Texas Two-step
  • embroider “whenever”

More thoughts —

  • gather patches into “end of project” groupings
  • appliqué and/or quilt to add detail, variation
  • moons from Glennis (maybe too fragile?)
  • couching strips of seams (like the stitching chair) as part of deconstructing shirts in the cloth bins (I have a lot of thrift store clothing that needs to be broken down)

So maybe a table cloth a la Jude? But now I’m doing the math and thinking, hmmm … the dining room table is 10 feet long by 3 feet wide … plus another foot or so all around for the overhang. Maybe I should just get back to finishing our bed cloth instead …

Of course, if I had planned ahead I wouldn’t be stitch-wrapping all the raw edges. But after considering Judy Martin’s Not To Know But To Go On, I figured yes, I can do this … however long it takes.

I also did some birthday card crafting a la Paul Klee for soon-to-be 8 year old Jace (and yes, it does look like it says “18”) …

And I decided I want to revive my original blog practice of posting successful food forays, much like this one titled Salad Days from 2009. I can’t hope to rival Deb G’s food photos, but for the record here’s today’s lunch, which I’m calling Waldorf My Way …

Of course, I forgot to include the scallions in the first picture and the mayo in the second picture. Nonetheless, this new version sans apples was an improvement on my memories of the Waldorf Salads of the 1960s that were dressed with straight mayo and included raisins (sorry, not a fan). Making a fresh vinaigrette with just a bit of mayo for creaminess was a good substitution.

Channeling my inner Scarlett

Gone with the Wind is definitely not PC these days, but when I was a teenager my mom urged it on me, saying it was a classic. How well I remember reading it in the backseat of our car during a road trip to see what all the fuss was about. “Not much,” was my dismissive opinion.

That said, it was a semi-big deal in 1976 when it finally aired on TV and I got to see the movie version for the first time. I still gave it a “not much” rating, but thankfully it primed me to more fully appreciate Carol Burnett’s skit Went with the Wind, in which she parodied Scarlett’s drapery-inspired gown.

All of which has everything to do with the latest iteration of the boho blouse …

Since I was having trouble with the patchplay version, I decided to try out the pintucks on some vintage cloth that had been packed and moved five times. Purchased in 1980, there were two yards of it left over after I sewed curtains for the living room picture window in our very first house. Finally, it has found its reason for being.

I’m pretty sure it’s 100% cotton and it needles like an absolute dream …

My fingers are grateful … stitches are a cinch when the cloth isn’t clogged with excess dye and whatever else it is they use to finish fabric these days. Now if I could just figure out where to find more 40 year old cloth.

And while I’m looking back, here’s what we had for lunch today …

The backstory is my fond memory of 1974 shopping trips to Bloomingdale’s in Garden City (Long Island, NY), with my friend Rachel. We must have eaten at their in-store restaurant more than once, because I have a very clear recollection of Croque Monsieur being a favorite.

The version I whipped up today might better be called a Monte Cristo, as it had a distinctly Italian vibe. Lest I forget, it consisted of crusty Italian White Bread from Central Market in Austin, thin slices of Speck (a smoked version of prosciutto), leftover zucchini butter (from this Smitten Kitchen recipe), lots of shredded parm (regretfully not Reggiano … this time), all dipped in beaten egg and griddled in melted butter. Oh, and we did dab on a bit of basil vinaigrette at the table because there was some of that leftover, too.